Conable film series sheds light on movies from around the globe

Event features conversations with Liberal Arts faculty

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The film El Norte tells the story of two Guatemalan youths in the early 1980s who flee their country due to ethnic and political persecution during the Guatemalan Civil War. They travel north through Mexico and eventually reach Los Angeles, after a difficult journey.

Films like El Norte are the centerpieces of RIT’s Conable Global Film Series, sponsored by the Barber B. Conable Chair in International and Global Studies. The series screens subtitled films from around the globe and hopes to engage moviegoers in discussions after each film, led by select College of Liberal Arts faculty members.

“The Conable Global Film Series offers the RIT community a unique forum for discussing the dynamics of global politics through the work of contemporary filmmakers,” says Rebecca Scales, assistant professor of history at RIT. “This year’s films—from countries including Japan, France, Germany and Italy—wrestle with questions of racial, ethnic, gender and class identity and challenge us to think about cultural differences in new and interesting ways. We hope RIT students interested in encountering cultural diversity from around the globe will join us for these screenings.”

Tamar Carroll, assistant professor of history, will lead the discussion following the screening of El Norte.

“The film El Norte is important because it places Latin American immigration to the U.S. in the context of U.S. military interventions in Latin America, historical events which are often overlooked in the context of contemporary debates about immigration,” Carroll says. “Specifically, the film traces the story of two siblings fleeing civil war in Guatemala, a war which killed hundreds of thousands of people, especially indigenous Guatemalans, and resulted from a U.S.-orchestrated coup in 1953. At the same time, El Norte is a remarkable work of art that offers a beautiful meditation on the human condition. El Norte, which is often compared to the film The Grapes of Wrath, remains as powerful today as when it debuted in 1983.”

Films scheduled for this series are:

El Norte; discussion led by Tamar Carroll, assistant professor of history; Sept. 26, Liberal Arts Hall, room A205

Tokyo Sonata; discussion led by Hiroko Yamashita, associate professor of Japanese and chair of RIT’s modern languages department; Oct. 10, Liberal Arts Hall, room A205

The Lives of Others; discussion led by Corinna Schlombs, assistant professor of history; Feb. 7, 2013, Campus Center, room 2610

Le Havre; discussion led by Rebecca Scales, assistant professor of history, and Babak Elahi, associate dean; March 25, Campus Center, room 2650

Mermaid; discussion led by Elena Sommers, lecturer, Department of English; April 18, Campus Center, room 2610

Diaz: Don’t Clean Up This Blood; discussion led by Elisabetta D’Amanda, lecturer in Italian; May 7, Liberal Arts Hall, room A205.

All films begin at 6:30 p.m. and are free of charge. Pizza and refreshments will be served at all screenings.

For more information about the Conable Global Film Series, contact Scales at 475-4244 or